Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens review

Today’s guest post review of the Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens ($684.88) is written by Xavier Lhospice:

I am 50 years old! I often tend to forget about it, but my body keeps on reminding me, especially my back. Since I was not using my DSLR too often lately, I traded my lovely old Nikon AF-D 60 macro lens for the Leica designed Panasonic 2.8/45 macro lens (price: $684.88).

Why?

Several reasons, my back problem being one of them: I had to use my heavy and bulky DSLR and 60 mm lens combo. I now use the small and light GF1 with the 2.8/45mm macro lens.

Some quick specs:

Nikon 60mm macro Panasonic 45mm macro
Weight more than 15.5 oz less than 8 oz.
Size 2.9 x 2.8 inches 2.48 x 2.46 inches
Filter diameter 62mm 46mm
Minimum focus 8,7 inches 6 inches
Max. magnification 1:1 1:1
Stabilization NO YES

I want to point out that the "old" 60mm AF-D lens extends as it focuses closer. The 45mm Panasonic macro is a modern lens and it does not change its length during focusing.

What I like about the Panasonic macro lens? It is light, focuses extremely fast, does not make the coffee grinding sound like the old 60mm Nikon used to make and the stabilization is very efficient. You can go so close to the object, it is just amazing.

I love the color and the bokeh that you expect from a Leica designed lens. No fallout in the corner and all the pictures I show here were taken at f/2.8. There is no vibration from the AF nor from the IOS stabilization. The focusing ring is smooth and precise in manual mode.

The lens comes with a hood, which is a plus lately.

What I do not like about this lens ? There is no distance and DOF scale and I cannot pre-focus in advance. Adding a scale would have probably made the lens a bit bigger and heavier, but it is so tiny and light that it would have been worth it. This lens has been designed to be only use in AF - "modern" lenses have no DOF scales nowadays. Some will not be happy about the price tag, it is high - about $680.

Technical specs:

Model Number H-ES045
Lens Construction 14 elements in 10 groups (1 Aspherical lens, 1 ED lens)
Mount Micro Four Thirds mount
Optical Image Stabilizer Yes
Focal Length f=45mm (35mm camera equivalent 90mm)
Aperture Type 7 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
Aperture F2.8
Minimum Aperture F22
Closest Focusing Distance 0.15m / 0.5ft0.5m / 1.64ft
Maximum Magnification Approx. 1.0x / 2.0x (35mm camera equivalent)
Diagonal Angle of View 27°
Filter Size φ46mm / 1.81 in
Max. Diameter φ63mm / 2.48 in
Standard Accessory Lens Cap, Lens Hood, Lens Rear Cap, Lens Storage Bag
Overall Length (inches) Approx. 62.5mm / 2.46 in (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
Weight Approx. 0.50 lbs
Dimensions (H x W x D) 4.84'' x 4.03'' x 4.03''
Shipping Weight 2.3 lbs

I am not much of a technical review kind of guy and I will just want to show you few samples made with 45mm Panasonic lens.

I am lucky to have a healthy dog that needs to be walked and to live in the most visited capital of the world surrounded by beautiful forests. So everyday, I walk for two hours amongst oaks and maple trees. Lately the forest has been changing a lot, winter getting closer, the trees – to protect their trunk – cut the sap from going to the branches resulting in the leaves turning brown or beautifully red!

  

  

  

  

  

  

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  • longzoom

    Great color/sharpness. LEICA’s bite! Bokeh isn’t that great, for my taste, but it is a macro lens. THX!

    • http://benjaminmoritz.com Benjamin Moritz

      Agree. Just looking at m4/3 lenses today…. had not seen this one…. thanks for posting.

  • http://www.xavierlhospice.com Xavier

    If I may answer about the bokeh, the pictures shown here are changed into 72 DPI and saved very light for ease of use on the web ! So the quality has been altered but in DNG, believe it or not, it is better than the 60 which has a great reputation. Thank you !

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Thanks for the review but you have messed up the sample pics when publishing them. The JPEG compression seems far too high (colour banding evident) and the image also seem to be resized-down and re-sized up.

      I think the problem is this 72DPI thing you mentioned… there’s no concept of DPI that should be followed when publishing for the web, unless you’re trying to match a certain physical output scale on other people’s screens. Even then, it should be PPI (pixels per inch) not DPI, as the latter is more relevant to how printers work. Also, not all screens are 72 PPI too. For example a typical 24″ 1920×1080 desktop monitor has a PPI of 91.8. The common 15.6″ 1366×768 laptop screen has a PPI of 100.5, etc. So there’s really no benefit in using the concepts of PPI/DPI for web published images, 99% of the time.

    • MJr

      Or quite simply:
      An image doesn’t have DPI, only the display device (or print) does. Image resolution defines the amount of dots available whereas the dots-per-inch will be defined by the width and height it is displayed at.

  • Newzpix

    I’m a 53 year-old photojournalist and have no problems using a D3s with 60mm. Never had a Nikon lens sound like a coffe grinder while focusing either- not even the older 60mm.

    • Michael

      We all have physical differences you know, you are lucker than some.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

    Is it just me, or are MFT lenses the same price as FF lenses?

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      They’re usually much more expensive than the equivalent FF lenses.

      ZD 150 f/2 ($2500) equivalent to EF 300 f/4L IS USM ($1350). ZD lens doesn’t even have IS or USM/SWD.

      ZD 14-35 f/2 ($2300) equivalent to 24-70 f/4, but Canon/Nikon 24-70 2.8 cheaper ($1400/$1800)

      ZD 35-100 f/2 ($2500) equivalent to EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM ($1150) but again the ZD lens doesn’t have IS or USM/SWD.

    • MJr

      R&D and manufacturing is basically the same, so no surprise. The annoying thing tho is that they’re often even MORE expensive. Just the system still settling in i guess. Unlike SLR which has been around longer than any of us.

  • R!

    It’s one of my favorite lens !

  • Art Mooney

    You can adapt a Pentax Super Tacumar 50 1.4 – it goes to 45 cm and it´s so fast and has a nice bokeh… 90 Euro at Ebay.

    • MJr

      Does it do 1:1 ? Nope.

  • Alan

    Thanks for posting – always interesting to get views on lenses.
    One question: I realize that not everyone uses the metric system, and some areas choose to use imperial measurements, and that’s fine. But has anyone ever actually tried to buy a 1.81 inch filter?

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